Can my employer take away already approved bereavement time?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can my employer take away already approved bereavement time?

My employer approved my 4 day bereavement leave for the death of my aunt. However while on my such leave was out of state, my supervisor called on day 2 or 3 and stated that she made a mistake and the facility policy has changed. This meant that no bereavement is given to aunts and uncles and I needed to come back to work. I explained that I was on the road to another state and it wasn’t possible. What was done was, since I didn’t have any PTO left from using it for my aunt while she was in the hospital before death. She browser against my PTO and now I’m neg. 32 hours. The problem is a new attendance has been change in 01/09 you are terminated after 3 occurrences. I feel my supervisor set me up to fail and now. My kids are out of school on Monday due to the, holiday and I don’t have a sitter, if I take off work I will be 2 occurrences away from being fired since my PTO is neg. And will be for the next 4 months I feel my job is at risk and I will be fired. Is this legal to do?

Asked on January 11, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, California


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Unless you have a union agreement or employment contract that protects you against such action, or your treatment constitues some form of legally actionable discrimination (which it does not appear to), I'm afraid that you have no claim here. The fact is that most emplyment is "at will" which means that a company can set the conditons of  employment much as it sees fit. This includes changing company bereavement policy. Further, a business is under no obligation to provide bereavement leave, so to the extent tht it does it has a great deal of say over when it is used.

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